Treat others how you would like to be treated. That’s the mantra many of us were taught as children, as a surefire way to guarantee manners, kindness, and care. But in the strange environs of adulthood, we often forget elements of that very simple code.
For most of us, work is a place we go to for 40 hours every week. We spend 8 hours a day with our colleagues, which is normally more waking hours than we spend with our families and loved ones. Your workplace is not just a place to earn money at, it also needs to be a safe and supportive environment for your physical and mental health. Many of your stresses and trials will come from that part of your life, and if you have no meaningful relationships or support networks in-situ, where can you turn?
We all have a responsibility to look out for our colleagues, whether we’re in a noisy factory or a corporate office. If we all looked out for each other, and treated everybody how we wanted them to treat us, mental health would never have to reach crisis point.
Signs of mental illness
The early warning signs are there, if you know where to look. These are traits we can often find difficult to diagnose in ourselves, so it’s important than we’re aware of what they might look like in others:
- Big changes in habits (eating, sleeping etc.)
- Manic, or extremely high and low, moods.
- Withdrawal from others
- Long-lasting, or excessive; sadness, irritability, fear, worry, or anxiety.
Just because your colleague has clocked in late a few times recently from oversleeping, it doesn’t always mean a mental health issue. It could be for a hundred other reasons, but having cognisance of these symptoms can mean that you’re a little more aware of any differences that may begin to grow in your fellow workers.
Most common mental illnesses
Each mental illness has its own unique set of symptoms, and can be hard enough to diagnose by doctors, let alone by concerned colleagues or managers. But there are 5 ‘common’ syndromes that most of us will witness or experience at some point in our lives:
- Anxiety (generalised anxiety disorder)
- Panic disorder
- OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Particularly as a manager, if you have a responsibility for the work and well-being of a team of people, we would recommend familiarising yourself with the common symptoms of these ‘big five’. Like with all physical and mental illnesses, the earlier we can act, the better chance we have of beating it.
If you would like to talk to us about mental health in your workplace, we have years of experience in supporting businesses to look after their staff a little more, to get a lot more out of them.